The Washington State Senate introduced bill SB 5638, an act that recognizes the validity of distributed ledger technology and aims to provide the legal recognition that blockchains were missing, the State’s authorities announced on January 28, 2019.
New Bill Aims to Encourage the Development of Blockchain and DLT
While the future of cryptocurrencies and the technology underlying them is still largely unknown, certain “crypto hotspots” have formed around the world offering a boost to the industry. One of those hotspots is the Washington State in the U.S., where low electricity prices and a welcoming government made it a promised land for crypto miners and blockchain companies.
Now, the state has introduced a new bill that aims to further encourage the development of distributed ledger and blockchain technology. According to the Washington State Legislature, the Washington State Senate introduced SB 5638, an act “relating to the recognizing the validity of distributed ledger technology.” The bill, introduced on January 25, 2019, will reportedly amend and add to an act that is already in state law.
The new bill aims to codify blockchain-enabled digital signatures and licenses, as well as provide the legal framework needed to enforce the newly implemented standards.
Amending An Old Authentication Act
The new bill was created as a revision of the “Washington Electronic Authentication Act,” an act passed back in 1994. The purpose of the original bill was to ensure that “electronic signatures,” which was a relatively new phenomenon then, were not denied legal recognition.
While there are many sections of the act that the new bill revised, the most important change is the addition of the blockchain sector to the list of things protected by the act. The bill also added two new definitions – the terms blockchain and distributed ledger technology were clearly explained in the document.
Despite the fact that Democrats control both houses of the Washington State Legislature, the bill is sponsored by four Republican State Senators. According to the Legislature’s official website, Senators Sharon Brown, Ann Rivers, Randi Becker, and Shelly Short have all backed the bill, which has completed its first reading as of January 28, 2019.
The bill is now headed to committee, where it will be subjected to detailed analysis by the state authorities. After sufficient research has been done on the subject, the committee will go ahead with the proposed legislation. And while the bill itself won’t bring any meaningful change unless it’s passed into law, giving the space formal recognition could accelerate the growth of the state’s already booming crypto industry.